New Tinto Park played host to Gartcairn for the first time this season. Queen’s Park begun their campaign with an emphatic 5-1 win against the Airdrie side on the opening day of the season. However, with Gartcairn experiencing a change in management since that encounter, it was interesting to see how they would fare this time around.
Head Coach Craig Joyce made one change to the starting line-up from the previous week, with Emma Craig taking the place of Leah Daly. Notably, this fixture marked the 10th appearance of the season for Abby Callaghan, Megan Quigley, Ciara Bonner, and Ellie Kane. Nicole Cairney also made her 10th appearance of the season as a second-half substitute.
The Spider’s dominated possession in the opening minutes while the visiting side adopted a low block strategy. Queen’s Park were patient in their play, with the defensive line moving the ball side to side, awaiting the right moment break through.
That moment materialised in the 10th minute as a Queen’s Park throw-in on the left wing was cleared by the Gartcairn defence, finding its way to Darcy Molley on the opposite side. Molley, in acres of space, surged forwards and cleverly beat a player before lofting an excellent ball forward for the run of Abby Callaghan. Callaghan connected with the ball on the half-volley, but her effort was matched by McPhie in the away goal.
Just 10 minutes later, the Spiders came remarkably close to finding the net through a beautifully orchestrated build-up from the back. The sequence began with Lucy Inman rolling the ball to Ciara Bonner. Bonner carried the ball forward before releasing it to Taylor Davis on the left flank. Davis played a precise ball inside to Callaghan, who cleverly opened up and played a sublime pass over the top to find Monica Harty on the opposite wing. Harty took a composed touch before firing a shot. Unfortunately for The Spiders her effort narrowly missed the target.
As the Spiders relentlessly pressed Gartcairn in the final third, their long-awaited breakthrough unfolded in the 28th minute through a brilliant display of synergy between their two forwards. Abby Callaghan initiated the move by gaining possession near the halfway line and delivering the ball across to Ellie Kane. Kane, a force to be reckoned with, embarked on a powerful run, skilfully weaving her way through a maze of three Gartcairn defenders. Kane fired the ball across the box, right into the path of Callaghan. Positioned perfectly, Callaghan calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net, putting the Spiders into the lead.
A mere 5 minutes later, Queen’s Park doubled their lead as the Spiders earned a freekick in the middle of the park following a late challenge on Taylor Davis. Emma Craig took the free kick quickly, playing the ball across to Ciara Bonner. Bonner, in turn, released Davis on the left wing who fired a driven cross into 18-yard box. The ball was met perfectly by Ellie Kane who fired the ball into the back of the net from 6 yards.
It remained one-way traffic for Queen’s Park, and they appeared to secure their third goal of the afternoon not even 2 minutes later. This time, it was Callaghan who earned the Spiders a free kick after being pushed from behind in the middle of the park. Queen’s Park organised themselves for this set-piece, with Darcy Molley poised over the ball. Molley floated in an excellent delivery into the box, duly met by Kane once more, who expertly steered the ball into the back of the net. Unfortunately, the goal wasn’t awarded as the referee ruled Kane to be in an offside position.
Half-Time: Queen’s Park 2-0 Gartcairn
The game resumed much like the first half, with Queen’s Park retaining possession in Gartcairn’s half and putting them under constant pressure. However, in the opening minutes, the Spiders were unable to create any clear-cut chances.
As the game progressed, spaces started to appear for Queen’s Park to exploit, particularly as Gartcairn’s energy waned. The Spiders capitalised on this opportunity, scoring their third goal in the 60th minute. A Taylor Davis throw-in found Megan Quigley, who cleverly redirected the ball inside for Abby Callaghan, who, with ample time, deceptively set up Ellie Kane on the edge of the box. Kane confidently took a touch forward before coolly guiding the ball into the bottom corner, scoring her second goal of the game.
Gartcairn finally carved a chance of their own just one minute later as Megan Wands launched a loose ball forward, sending Abby Skelton darting down the right flank. Skelton took a touch before unleashing a shot from the wide area, which met by the crossbar before going out for a goal-kick.
Gartcairn started pushing forward, gaining more possession, and making their way into Queen’s Park’s defensive third on a few occasions. Despite this, they struggled to produce any significant scoring opportunities as the Spiders’ defence held firm.
The Spiders added another goal to their tally in the 73rd minute. Darcy Molley played a great ball down the line for Ami Robertson to chase. Robertson caught the ball and cleverly cut across her marker before picking out Ellie Kane stationed at the penalty spot. Kane made no mistake as she slotted the ball into the bottom corner once again, earning her second hat-trick of the season.
The 75th minute brought a heartfelt moment for Queen’s Park player Sophie McGoldrick as she entered the pitch, replacing Ellie Kane. McGoldrick had been away from the game for 15 months, battling through the challenges of an ACL injury. Following an extensive period of rehabilitation, she finally made her comeback to the pitch.
Full-Time: Queen’s Park 4-0 Gartcairn
Queen’s Park: Lucy Inman, Taylor Davis, Ciara Bonner, Eleanor Smith, Darcy Molley, Emma Craig, Robin Gallagher (Caitlin McKee, 76’), Megan Quigley (Leah Daly, 67’), Monica Harty (Nicole Cairney, 46’), Ellie Kane (Sophie McGoldrick, 76’), Abby Callaghan (Ami Robertson, 67’). Subs not used: Lauren McGregor, Hannah Fulton, Rachael McConnachie.
Gartcairn: Jasmin McPhie, Samantha Davies, Myia Arbukle, Madilyn Wilson, Kayleigh Mitchell, Mischa Rennie, Caitlin Moran (Hannah Findlay, 69’), Rachel Howie (Jenny Dougall, 59’), Megan Wands, Abby Skelton (Rachael Downs, 80’), Fern Newbigging. Subs not used: Taylor Hogg, Molly Berry, Kirsty O’Brien, Kodie Cunningham, Evie Caurruthers.